" Say the Rosary every day...Pray, pray a lot and offer
sacrifices for sinners...I'm Our Lady of the Rosary.
Only I will be able to help you.
...In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph." Our Lady at Fatima
"Pray! Pray very much! Offer prayers and sacrifices constantly to the Most High." "Make everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended..." These were the words at the Angel's second appearance to the three children of Fatima.
The statue carved by an anonymous Mexican carpenter, the life-sized Black Nazarene was carried to the Philippines by the Augustinian Recollect missionaries on May 31, 1606, through a galleon coming from Acapulco, Mexico. The image was then housed in the first Recollect church in Bagumbayan (where Jose Rizal was executed) which was inaugurated on September 10, 1606, and placed under the patronage of San Juan Bautista/ Saint John the Baptist.
In 1608, the image of the Nazareno was transferred to the second, bigger Recollect church which was dedicated to San Nicolas de Tolentino. The Recollect Fathers zealously promoted devotion to the Suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ represented by the Black Nazarene. Under their guidance, the Cofradia de Santo Cristo Jesús Nazareno was established on April 21, 1621. The confraternity obtained Pope John Innocent Xs approval on April 20, 1650.
In 1787, then Archbishop of Manila, Basilio Sancho de Santas Junta y Rufina, ordered the image of the Black Nazarene moved to the Quiapo church, which was then as now under the patronage of Saint John the Baptist. Today, Quiapo church also holds the title Minor Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The image has survived the great fires that destroyed Quiapo church in 1791 and 1929, the great earthquakes of 1645 and 1863, and the bombing of Manila in 1945.
When the statue was brought to Manila in 1606, the ship caught fire, scorching the image black, and which is how it came to be known as the Black Nazarene. The people preserved and honored Jesus Christ in the image of the Black Nazarene which has, through the centuries, proved to be the worker of cures, conversions and the return of lost souls to the Catholic Faith.
Two popes have blessed the Black Nazarene and have merited the Filipinos devotion to the image. They are Pope Innocent X who blessed the icon in 1650, and Pope Pius VII who gave his blessing and plenary indulgence to its devotees during the 19th century.
Miracles of conversion and cures
Every January 9, millions of devotees, barefooted and clad in maroon, gather around Quiapo Church in capital Manila .
Miracles are believed to be given to those who touch the image. That is why devotees who share in the duty of bearing the gilded carriage that bears the image have a towel wrapped around their necks. The towels are thrown to the marshals aboard the carriage who wipe the Black Nazarene with them and then throw them back to the devotees.
Today, as centuries before, the sea of devotees will yell Viva Señor from the Luneta to Quiapo. The statue of regal suffering Nuestro Señor Jesus Nazareno standing with the large cross in the gilded carriage moves through the effort of the barefoot devotees pulling the long ropes.
Catholics devoted to Jesus as the Black Nazarene not only petition God for personal miracles. They also pray for peace and harmony among families, long life and good health for the entire Filipino nation and its deliverance from all calamities and disasters, as well as prosperity, joy and love among all the people of the earth.
The two great commandments that contain the whole law of God are: 1. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength;
2. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.' This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.' On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)